Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Making judgments

John F. Kavanaugh, S.J., a professor of philosophy at Saint Louis University, writes in the March 12 issue of America magazine about making political and moral judgments:
In this election year, two questions will guide my deliberation: What evidence is being ignored when people make political or economic claims? And what questions are not being asked about social and moral issues?

Making political judgments, like making moral judgments, ideally approximates the procedures of a courtroom. In fact, when we exercise our conscience, which is our practical moral judgment, we are acting as a judge. And like any good judge, if we are going to be able to render a judgment, we must have evidence. Otherwise our judgments are groundless and, in a worst case scenario, dangerous.

Hearsay is not enough. Interpretations are tendentiously inadequate. Unexamined premises nullify arguments. Evidence that has been tampered with is disqualified. And yet these tactics are the stuff of the political and media discourse that seems to rule the day.

You can read more here.